It turned out to not be that easy.
We got Couper at 11 months. One of his two previous owners had the good grace to have him fixed. Never having had a dog prior to Couper, I have not had to deal with this issue until now.
My first shock about all this is how young puppies can be when they get fixed. I never really thought about this before. Godiva just turned six months old. If you apply the 7:1 dog to human years ratio, she is 3 and a half in human years. Maybe it is just me, but 3 and a half seems a bit young to be worrying about reproductive issues. It was only a couple of months ago she started walking without falling down. It seems like a day and a half ago.
I also began thinking that maybe Godiva should have puppies. She is a beautiful dog and apparently has some championship lineage. Every once in a while when she sits, her posture and attitude looks like a show dog (this may only be through a daddy’s eyes, I have no idea what makes up a show dog – I assume not biting the judge’s fingers would be one criteria). We are way too lazy busy to show her, but maybe somebody who got her offspring could. She has papers (not AKC, as they do not recognize piebalds), maybe it could happen. At the very least, she would have tremendously cute puppies.
Finally, this is major surgery. I don’t want to go into details, but it certainly is not “snip snip”, like with a male dog (cringe). The old joke, “What’s the definition of minor surgery? Surgery that happens to other people”, also applies to other people’s dogs.
However, after doing research, spaying seems like a good idea:
Females also tend to be better pets if they do not experience oestrus every six-to-nine months. Heat cycles bring hormonal changes that can lead to personality changes, and oestrus females must be confined to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Repeated heat cycles may subject the reproductive system to uterine and mammary cancers as they age. Some bitches experience false pregnancies that can be a bother to deal with and uterine infections that can be fatal.
We certainly do not want our little puppy having personality changes due to going into heat every six months. It sounds like PMS on steroids. We sure don’t need any more of that around the house. (Couper’s Mommy just hit me. I’m lucky it wasn’t her oestrus, it could have been much much worse).
(Completely unrelated side note:
With today’s overuse of the word, one sometimes forgets that a female dog is called a bitch. When I first read this article, I snickered, “Huh huh, he said ‘bitch’”. I actually looked to see if the article was written by 50 Cent. But once I got used to the fact that the author was using the word in its proper context, it reminded me of one of my favorite Simpsons scenes:
The family is driving home from church/Sunday School:
Marge: So, what did you children learn about today?Yes, I use any excuse I can to throw in gratuitous Simpsons quotes).
Bart: But that's what we learned about. I sure as HELL can't tell you we learned about HELL unless I say HELL, can't I?
Homer: Well, the lad has a point.
Bart: Hell, yes!
Bart: [singing] Hell, Hell, Hell, Hell, ...
Marge: Bart, you're no longer in Sunday School. Don't swear.
I also love this quote from another spaying information site:
Veterinary medical scientists are working to develop a "pill" or some other convenient method of birth control for pets. There are now several medications on the market that can be used temporarily to keep an animal out of heat.
At present, other than confining your animal, the sure way to keep your pet from mating is to have it surgically neutered.
Our little Godiva barely listens to us when we tell her not to chew the furniture, or our socks, or rip apart baskets, she sure isn’t going to listen to us if we sit down and have a little talk about the birds and the bees; especially if she is in heat. So in the end, for your dog, sex education and birth control do not work; it is the permanent chastity belt or puppies.
So in the end, even though I was a little sad about it, I accepted that having the surgery is best for Godiva (and for us - we're not only too lazy to show dogs, we are too lazy to breed them as well). The surgery went well and she recovered quickly. So, for all you male dogs out there, our little girl is officially off the market. Go howl elsewhere.